LEAGUES

Flamengo 2-0 Barcelona: Brazilian giants draw first blood in Libertadores semi as David Luiz makes debut

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Flamengo will take a two-goal lead into their second-leg trip to Barcelona thanks to Wednesday's triumph on home soil.
FotMob - about 1 month ago

Bruno Henrique scored twice and David Luiz made his debut as two-time champions Flamengo defeated 10-man Barcelona 2-0 in the opening leg of the Copa Libertadores semi-finals.

Flamengo emerged triumphant thanks to Bruno Henrique's first-half brace in Rio de Janeiro, where veteran defender David Luiz appeared for the first time since his Arsenal exit.

Ecuadorian visitors Barcelona had Nixon Molina sent off in first-half stoppage time, while Flamengo substitute Leo Pereira – who replaced David Luiz approaching the hour mark – was also dismissed in the 89th minute.

David Luiz completed his move to Brazilian giants Flamengo earlier this month following his Arsenal departure at the end of last season, but team-mate Bruno Henrique stole the show on Wednesday.

Gabriel 'Gabigol' Barbosa was the provider for the opening goal in the 21st minute – his inch-perfect cross picking out Bruno Henrique, who headed past Barcelona goalkeeper Javier Burrai.

Andreas Pereira – on loan from Premier League giants Manchester United – rattled the crossbar with a ferocious long-range strike, after Flamengo team-mate Bruno Henrique had also hit the woodwork.

But Bruno Henrique netted his second seven minutes before half-time after a swift counter-attacking move saw the attacker teed up by Vitinho.

It means Bruno Henrique has now been involved in 27 goals in the last five editions of the Libertadores – 16 goals and 11 assists, the second most by any player and only one behind Gabigol (28, 22 goals and six assists).

Ecuador faced an uphill battle in the second half when Molina saw red for a second yellow card on the stroke of half-time and while Flamengo also ended the match with 10 men after Pereira was sent off at the death, the 1981 and 2019 Libertadores winners were too strong.

The result was the 49th Libertadores victory for Flamengo head coach Renato Gaucho – the joint-most by any manager in the competition's history, alongside Gabriel Ochoa Uribe.

Barcelona will host Flamengo in the return leg on September 29, with a final showdown against either Palmeiras or Atletico Mineiro on the line.